Police target loitering yobs
TACKLING intimidating behaviour of people hanging around Peterborough’s job centre is now a top priority for police.
The entrance to Jobcentre Plus, at the corner of Broadway and Burghley Square, is a major pedestrian route into the city centre for residents, shoppers and commuters.
But city centre officers have now joined forces with Jobcentre Plus after residents complained they felt threatened by people hanging around whenever they walked past.
Following a meeting of the City Centre Neighbourhood Police Panel last week, it was made a top policing priority and now officers have upped their patrols, telling people hanging around the building who have no business there to wait elsewhere or move on.
Neighbourhood police sergeant for the city centre Nikki Hall said officers had scoured the CCTV images while investigating the problem.
They found the majority of people hanging around outside had “no legitimate business” there because they were either too young to claim benefits or were just waiting for people.
She said they were working closely and positively with job centre staff and were starting to notice an impact.
Sgt Hall said: “We reviewed the footage and went to speak to people who were just hanging round, causing an obstruction and whose noisy behaviour was proving intimidating to residents and people arriving to use the job centre’s services.
“We knew the problem wasn’t with the job centre in terms of appointments or lack of room inside as they have a very efficient system in place and if appointments are missed, people are told to return at 4pm.
“There is no good reason for some of these people to be there, so we moved them on and suggested they wait in the park opposite or in one of the many cafes on the road and explained why they were causing a nuisance.”
A Department For Work and Pensions spokeswoman, representing Jobcentre Plus, confirmed they had been working in partnership with the police.
She added: “At peak times, people collecting benefits sometimes congregate outside and steps have been taken to address this, including arranging for some people to sign-on at Peterborough City College and encouraging people to receive payments direct into their accounts.”
Ward councillor Nazim Khan said he fully supported the joint intiative to combat anti-social behaviour.
He said: “Gangs and groups of people hanging around can be very intimidating, especially to the elderly and the vulnerable, so I think they are doing the right thing by making sure people are moved on.”